A Legacy in Limbo

Two decades after Harvey Milk's assassination, a historic collection of his memorabilia still waits for a proper home

Kevin Schaub, director of the Harvey Milk Institute, wishes his group could be of greater help. But the network of gay-centric adult education classes named for Milk also works on a shoestring budget. Schaub is resigned to the reality that a Milk legacy will have to be built piecemeal. "It all boils down to finding the money and resources to pull it off -- unless you are filthy rich, and leave a foundation to do it for you," he says. "But Harvey Milk wasn't filthy rich, and neither were his friends."

For Schaub, the excitement surrounding the Milk Plaza redesign is a good sign that a museum might finally gain some attention. But even the plaza is not a done deal. The design process, sponsored in part by the city's Arts Commission, was only an ideas competition. The city is not obligated to implement -- or pay for -- any of it.

"The plaza would be a lovely marker of Harvey's legacy, but things like his suit have a powerful connotation. There is a lot that needs to be preserved and put in a museum before it fades into dust," Schaub says. "Dear Lord, it's been 22 years since Harvey died, and there are people who have no idea what happened. History is passing before our eyes."

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